If you have a criminal record and you live in the United States, a judge has the power to expunge your record. What an expungement does is remove any convictions or arrests from a person’s criminal record. It would be like the crime that you were convicted of never happened. Prosecutors couldn’t even view an expunged record if they wanted to. However, sealing a record removes a person’s public criminal record, but it can still be seen if a court order is issued.
Almost all of the states in the U.S. have some type of expungement law for certain types of crimes. Unfortunately, the federal government itself doesn’t have any expungement process in place for clearing a person’s criminal record. If you want your criminal record expunged or sealed, you must file a petition with the court system where you were arrested.
The expungement process can cost a couple of hundred dollars just in administrative and court fees. The high cost of expungements usually discourages the people that are eligible. Also, many people are unaware that they even have the option to clear their criminal records.
How Can States Fix The Expungement Problem?
States all over the United States are taking steps to make expungement and sealing of criminal records more accessible to those individuals affected by having a record. States like Indiana are taking serious steps to speed up the expungement process by reducing the waiting period and lowering the costs. To learn about the steps Indiana is taking, just Google, “expungement attorney Indianapolis.” In the last decade, most of the U.S. has expanded the scope of expungement and sealing remedies in ways that will help people negatively impacted with criminal records.
What are “Clean Slate” Laws?
Many states are now adopting “clean slate” laws to guarantee that expungement and sealing processes are in place to offer relief from those with minor criminal records. They are removing the many barriers that are in place to prevent individuals from cleaning up their past and moving on with their lives.